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Thread: Retiring to a simple life in Alaska?

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    PS...The Fairbanks area can be brutally cold in the winter, but there is a certain kind of beauty in the cold that some can appreciate.....especially if you don't have to work out in it!....lol. So yes, cold it is, but the summers can be spectacular up there!
    !!! A bunch of us are here in the interior BECAUSE of the winters! Best dog mushing on the planet, excellent trails everywhere, ice fishing, skiing and snowshoeing, can't beat it. Summer is spectacular, too - only bad season is breakup, really.

    A friend ended up here when she inherited a cabin from her uncle. It was kind of poorly built and her first winter was tough. Woke up one morning to find her boots frozen to the floor, drove to the airport, got on a plane, spent two weeks in southern California, came back, and never left again (although she and her husband did end up buying a house).
    Mushing Tech: squeezing the romance out of dog mushing one post at a time

  2. #22
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    Many thanks for all the suggestions. When I come up to Alaska, I will check those places out. I am also curious about the cost of the build. If I find the perfect spot -- but what I want to do can't financially be done right away -- I can keep looking or I can work another year or two to save up additional funds. I'd be curious if anyone has a general idea of how much income a single guy would need to live in a location like those you've mentioned, assuming he owns the setup (cabin, truck, shop) free and clear -- for example, at a small outpost outside of Fairbanks. Would $30,000 do it?

    Quote Originally Posted by boneguy View Post
    For a cabin I would do 2x4 exterior walls and wrap exterior with 6 inches of blue board. Everyone wants 2x6 walls with insulation in the bays but that wood is a poor insulator and a 2x4 wall with exterior sheeting is as strong as you need. Cold roof with R60 insulation and you will have a very low energy demand cabin. You can do a log siding if you want the cabin look. I would say come up with a camper and rent for a year or two, get a taste the country.
    DENNY
    It's not set in stone yet, but when I get out of this hell hole next month, I am thinking of getting a truck and camper and taking a 10,000+ mile trip that will take me from New England to Key West and up to Alaska, with a lot of stops along the way. I'll give myself the better part of a year to make it all the way to Alaska, to arrive probably in the late spring or early summer of 2020. Life can always get in the way, of course, but that's what I'm planning for the time being.

    Thanks for the construction advice. I am definitely planning to "buy (or rather build) once, cry once" and insulate the heck out of my cabin. For now, since I know how to make a log cabin and built-up roof, I am thinking of an insulated thickened mono slab foundation, log walls at least 16" thick, and at least R49 roof, but what you've described sounds mighty good. I just don't know how to do it myself yet, but I can learn.

    Apropos, what are the chances of finding property with 18" diameter trees or, alternatively, the chances of purchasing such logs in, say, the outposts outside of Fairbanks on the road system? I do not need long logs for the walls, as I could make a a stockade-style vertical log cabin out of 7' fairly straight logs, and they could be green logs. But I would need three good, righteous 40' logs for the ridge pole and 2 cap logs.

  3. #23
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    I think a single person could live on $30,000 annually. But it would probably require that individual to grow a small vegetable garden and preserve what he/she could. As you've probably noticed in all your research, most of us live what I'd call a semi-subsistence life style. We try to catch/harvest and preserve an assortment of fish and game, to go with the vegetables we've grown.

  4. #24
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    Just to clarify, I mean $30,000 net after taxes (i.e. take home pay), as it is being withdrawn from a portfolio. So the equivalent of roughly $42,000 before taxes. In case that changes anything.

  5. #25

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    Just an observation, but I'd keep that trailer at the ready so you can boogey out in the winter when the dark and cold set in. Know a handful of older single guys that do just that up there. I'd also look for an area that has a some sort of a gathering spot for you. Can be a sport shop, cafe or coffee shop or bar for a little happy hour. Heck even hanging out around a boat ramp. The days get awful long talking to the walls. My dad was an older bachelor and after he couldn't get around as well, those type of spots were crucial for him to keep his spirits up. Last comment, make sure you got a plan for medical costs or insurance. One bad accident or illness could clip out 25 percent of that nest egg quickly. And the odds keep going up that something will happen as we age.

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  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nolte View Post
    Just an observation, but I'd keep that trailer at the ready so you can boogey out in the winter when the dark and cold set in. Know a handful of older single guys that do just that up there.
    Yep....there's a reason people become snowbirds...
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by mg4570 View Post
    Apropos, what are the chances of finding property with 18" diameter trees or, alternatively, the chances of purchasing such logs in, say, the outposts outside of Fairbanks on the road system?
    Slim to none....that kind of timber you'd likely have to import from the coastal areas....
    "– Gas boats are bad enough, autos are an invention of the devil, and airplanes are worse." ~Allen Hasselborg

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by cdubbin View Post
    Slim to none....that kind of timber you'd likely have to import from the coastal areas....
    I do believe a friend of mine got his big logs from the Seward area?
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

  9. #29
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    For real trees on the Peninsula its Seward or Hope (or outer coast).

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by fuhrerak View Post
    For real trees on the Peninsula its Seward or Hope (or outer coast).
    I was taking out 2 1/2" diameter spruce on my property at Grey Cliff. The forest out there is very mature. Beetles have hit it all now though.
    Hunt Ethically. Respect the Environment.

  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by SmokeRoss View Post
    I was taking out 2 1/2" diameter spruce on my property at Grey Cliff. The forest out there is very mature. Beetles have hit it all now though.
    You should let those two and a half inch saplings grow up to be real trees!
    Your sarcasm is way, waaaayyyyyyyy more sarcastic than mine!
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  12. #32
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    The Toghotthele corporation in Nenana has a timber and house logs operation. That would be a reasonable source for logs if you end up in the Fairbanks area.

    http://togcorp.net/tog-timbers-llc.html

  13. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChugiakTinkerer View Post
    The Toghotthele corporation in Nenana has a timber and house logs operation. That would be a reasonable source for logs if you end up in the Fairbanks area.

    http://togcorp.net/tog-timbers-llc.html
    Thanks, I checked out their website. The prices look reasonable, and they show some 24" logs on their site.

  14. #34
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    mg4570;...... I've been following your Post, seems as though you've got your head screwed on right,,,,,, looking at all angles, thats a GOOD thing, but might I suggest that when you get a chance, GOOGLE -[Remote Properties Alaska]-, you may just find what you are looking for, with all the Heavy Lifting already done,,,,, and if you do, don't be afraid to make an "Offer", lower than the asking Price of course,,,, anyway, just a thought.
    Best of Luck to Yea......
    TG
    and yea,,,,, a Truck and Camper for a year or 2,,,,, checking areas out, thats a SMART thing to do, you'll get the lay of the land so to speak, and again, never know what you might Stumble on too.
    [ USMC 1st Marine Div. 7th Engineers, VietNam 69-71, Semper-Fi ]

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by The German View Post
    mg4570;...... I've been following your Post, seems as though you've got your head screwed on right,,,,,, looking at all angles, thats a GOOD thing, but might I suggest that when you get a chance, GOOGLE -[Remote Properties Alaska]-, you may just find what you are looking for, with all the Heavy Lifting already done,,,,, and if you do, don't be afraid to make an "Offer", lower than the asking Price of course,,,, anyway, just a thought.
    Best of Luck to Yea......
    TG
    and yea,,,,, a Truck and Camper for a year or 2,,,,, checking areas out, thats a SMART thing to do, you'll get the lay of the land so to speak, and again, never know what you might Stumble on too.
    Thanks for the kind words and for the suggestion! I checked out that site. Wow, some properties were very reasonably-priced, checked all the boxes, and even had electricity and broadband internet available. It seems there will be plenty for me to check out once I get to Alaska, both in terms of things to see and in terms of properties. Really appreciate all the kind suggestions here.

  16. #36
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    Check out Craiglist also for properties advertised by the owner.
    Hunt Ethically. Respect the Environment.

  17. #37

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    late getting into this thread.
    I retired recently to the outskirts of Fairbanks. Fortunately my son and family live here on land. My original plan was to buy or build my own, but now instead building a 2 car garage for my son with a "apartment" above for me. Views are nice, and I have a nice view to the North from my "home"
    When I thought about moving here, my son suggested I come check in winter first. So I came up in January, spent a few weeks, got home to Oregon, retired and have been back since May. Yes looking at the internet you would think Fairbanks is a big city, it is not
    Yes Fairbanks gets cold and I saw days below -30, but if you stay busy and don't just sit inside, your ok. Fairbanks in spring has giant mosquitoes that are big enough for landing lights and tail numbers. I have seen small dry cabins on land go for under 80k often. Just down the road a unfinished place ( septic, water, electric and monoslab) on land with a view went for under 100k. Another unfinished place, regular foundation and they got only as far as floor joists before they quit, went up for sale had utilities in. Some good places are word of mouth. My son found his place word of mouth. ( 3bedroom log cabin on land) I have met several that have sold and bought places with no advertising, if its a good one and you know people, they just get passed around it seems. Zillow is another good source. Some people just cant make it here, so when summer ends all kind of stuff, including homes, go cheap. renting small cabins is cheap in winter.
    ....water is a tricky one around here. If you get out of the valley , like us, and up in the hills, wells are non exsistant, nearly everyone has a water holding tank and gets water delivered or goes and gets it them selves. It is the only thing I don't like, having to rely on someone else to supply something as needed as water.
    Building up here can be crazy expensive. Not so much the materials but sub contractors, and they are picky on what they will do and have limited season to do it. ( and limited time to make their money). You really need to plan ahead on that,,finding and booking sub contractors, luckily my son knew some already and they would "squeeze" us in if we were flexible.( because we started planning late)
    My oldest son lives in Seward half year, he thinks I would be happier there, milder seasons, he has land as well, but subs are high their as well ( he plans to live their full time after his last gets out of highschool in Oregon) If he was already living there full time it would have been a toss up on where to go, but his land has no buildings yet, just road, and electric for his camper in summer. At this age in my life I want to be somewhat near family. Seward is lovely, that entire area is.
    Im gonna have to rely on fishing and hunting to keep freezers full. ( matter fo fact we are going to the valdez this weekend) I don't have the retirement income you have, most of my life self employed and not putting money away or claiming much.( dumb now that I look back) Will prob have to chase down a part time job for a few years. However I do have medicare, a supplemental and a small social security
    You mentioned other places like Idaho and Oregon. You can find some good outback places in them as well as montanna and Washington. I lived in a dry cabin for my last 6 months in Oregon. Propane heat, generator power, drinkable water a few hundred yards away. Deep in snow country at high elevation, 7 miles to cell phone 20+ to gas and a minimart so Im kind of used to the idea of being remote. However hunting and fishing in many of those parts are getting slim, esp compared to here . So far we have a freezer stocked with salmon, half of halibut, and my son still has some moose and caribou left from last season. I have had bear and beaver with neighbors
    4wd vehicle is a must. ( I brought mine up form Oregon),
    Building, log cabins are nice, but whatever you do, insulate the crap out of it and use the references that others have listed for specifications. You will find tons of helpful people on this forum, some have already chimed in above. The sub- forum on building is a big help with real helpful and knowledgable folks.

    Best of luck to you

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